Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Obama: Iraq media blitz. Says "we're not going to babysit a civil war." Reid: Senate move to nix Bush escalation plan will be "beginning of the end" of Iraq war, "biggest foreign policy blunder ever."


Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) poised for a 2008 White House run, sprinted through a series of interviews Wednesday night and Thursday morning in a mini-media blitz to react to President Bush's sending more troops to Iraq. Interesting, in the NBC interview this morning Obama, in response to a question, does not say if he will support Sen. Ted Kennedy's legislation that could force the president's hand on Iraq.

Democrats plan a non-binding resolution that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) said will simply state, "Do you support an escalation in the war in Iraq?" Reid predicted it would pass with at least 60 votes.

"I think that will be the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq," Reid said. He added later the war was the "biggest foreign policy blunder ever."

Majority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said of his meeting with Bush to discuss escalation plan, "I think he has lost some of his bravado."

Obama hit CNN's Larry King, MSNBC, ABC's Nightline, and NBC's the Today Show at the top of the program this morning. Contrast that to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), whose strategy on Bush's Iraq package is to avoid the national media spotlight.

Click below for a selection of quotes from Obama in interview with Meridith Vieira.

OBAMA: Well, look, as somebody who thought that going in was a bad idea in the first place, I have been very measured over the last couple of years precisely because I think we've got a responsibility, both strategic and humanitarian, to make sure that Iraq does not collapse entirely. And there are a series of judgment calls that have to be made.

Nobody's calling for a precipitous withdrawal. What we're saying is that if we can begin a phased withdrawal and give the Iraqi government a sense that we are not engaging in an open-ended commitment, we're not going to babysit a civil war and we're not going to continue to throw American troops at the problem, that they will actually arrive at the sort of political solution that's necessary.


Obama " Well, I think there are a range of options that are going to be proposed. I think the first order of business in the Senate is an up-or-down vote on a nonbinding resolution to see who approves and who doesn't approve of this plan. And I'll note that there were at least four Republicans yesterday who said, in anticipation of the president's proposal, that this was a bad idea. I think that there's a strong feeling in the Democratic caucus that this is a bad idea.

I think this is no longer a Democrat or Republican problem. This is an American problem. We need a nonpartisan solution to the problem, but we also need a president that acknowledges that we have not seen the kinds of political compromise between Shi'a and Sunni on the ground in Iraq that would allow for the stabilization of the country.


Bush's next effort is going to be war against Iran. How many more innocent lives are going to be fed to this bastard's insane egomania? The Iraqi government is not going to give up the militias - they need them as their protectors and they know they cannot trust the US. Iraq will be Shia, as is Iran and there is no reason to expect them not to cooperate. Above all we need to do justice to the Palestinian people if there is any hope of peace in the Middle East. Been saying this for over 50 years (I'm 61) and I'm getting tired of being proven correct. JUSTICE is what is needed here, not obstinate persistence in evil doing, which is all Bush and his stooges offer.

The last sentence of Sen. Obama's comments tell the story. Nearly every news analysis that I have read about Iraq, somewhere mentions the inability of the Iraqi elected officials to put aside differences. I question their commitment to a united Iraq let alone a democratic Iraq.
We cannot force the Iraqi government to take concrete steps to protect their people and restore order. They need to present us with a plan to accomplish this that we think can work, while at the same time we plan on phasing our troops out. Plans should begin to be drawn up immediately, be due in 60 days and begin within six months.

I understand there is already $70 billion appropriated and approved for military spending in Iraq for 2007. Prior to the talk of escalation a supplemental approprations bill for another $160 billion was to be voted on within the next month or two. Now some Dems are trying to talk tough about not supporting funding for additional troops, but -- with few exceptions -- most aren't saying a word about how they would vote on the $160 billion supplemental though they claim to oppose the continued occupation.

I suspect at least two reasons for Bush's escalation talk: (1) It gives Bush, the GOP, and all others who support continued involvement cover. They'll argue that they tried everything, but the ungrateful Iraqis didn't want freedom and democracy; (2) Anticipating a potential congressional standoff over the $160 billion supplemental, Bush is asking for more troops and cash just to get less of a fight over the $160 billion he wants to sustain current levels through the end of his term. Then Bush & supporters of his Iraq policies will attempt to blame the successor for the mess after 2008.

If the US has any real intent of pulling out of Iraq, then why are they building mega bases? This narrows down the reasons for being there, to simply stealing the oil.

Isn't it obvious what Bush's latest "plan" represents? All this plan does is delay things until Bush leaves office. This isn't the end of the war or even the beginning of the solution to the Iraq conflict; it is just GW Bush passing the problem on to the next president. He sends more of our troops into harms way so he can slink back to crawford blameless for the humiliation of "losing Iraq." As Ehud Barak, the former Israeli Prime Minister told VP Cheney, the only thing left for the US to do in Iraq was "choosing the size of your humiliation". Of course Cheney and Bush have chosen instead to try and pin that humiliation on the next president or maybe the democrats in congress. Would these fearless leaders use our troops for this senseless political purpose if they had ever served in the military themselves?

Unfortunately, we will be in Iraq long after my eight year old graduates college. I'm thank Jehovah for my one son and my heart goes out to mothers who have lost their sons to a 'Bush-Cheney' oil drive. OOops, my bad, this war is not about oil. I keep forgetting we're there to help the Iraqi people bury more of their sons.

It took brutal dictators to hold together Iraq since its haphazard creation. Bush is yet another one of them. A peaceful Iraq is going to be 3 seperate countries. That would be the intelligent way to proceed, but the GOP's pride is at stake. It was clear from the start to me and many others that there were no WMD, and that this all was a misguided utopian dream from a man who thinks God speaks to him. If there is not an impeachment investigation then the Democrats are no better.

This is also true "I suspect at least two reasons for Bush's escalation talk: (1) It gives Bush, the GOP, and all others who support continued involvement cover. They'll argue that they tried everything, but the ungrateful Iraqis didn't want freedom and democracy; (2) Anticipating a potential congressional standoff over the $160 billion supplemental, Bush is asking for more troops and cash just to get less of a fight over the $160 billion he wants to sustain current levels through the end of his term. Then Bush & supporters of his Iraq policies will attempt to blame the successor for the mess after 2008. "- lMuser

The artificial election of Barry Obama was the biggest mistake of this century, this blowhard has no plan for anything, he is nothing more than a monday morning quarterback and bad and cowardly on at that(dont make fun of my ears)!

It sadden me to hear Ms. Rice say the Iraqi's have not step up to the plate. The US is the one who waged war, the US is the one who convience the nation and allies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, so the US should take responsibility. Maybe for once this will teach the US to but-out. Help countries that really needed or need help. ie we ignored Rwanda, Darfur, Haiti. My intial reaction after the war started was if they don't want us there we should get out, but the more I think about it I realize, they didn't ask for help we bombarded them, so guess what we need to fix it. We caused it we fix it, so the policy makers should stop blaming iraqi's officals for the chaos.

Sadly lives have been lost in this war US troops, Iraqi civilians other nationals all becuase of President Bush. As American's we should put pressure on Bush for causing this mess not the Iraqi's soliders who is already afraid for their lives. I don't think we should add troops but we need a better US leader who with help from other countries can help stabilize the country and bring our men and women home.

Stealing oil?? It is American oil and they take what belongs to them.

Concerning the conflict in Iraq, the US did the right thing. Are we in over our heads - yes. Did the US strategists underestimate the resistance and sectarian hatred - yes. Did the current administration make some poor calls - yes. However, the administration is composed of human beings who make mistakes, and I am really getting tired of the bantering from the Bush haters and bashers. When a Democrat has been in office, and has exercised faulty judgements or decisions, I don't bash the man or Office of the President. When he has made bad policy I don't foam at the mouth. The man, Republican or Democrat, is trying to enact the best policies he can with what he has been handed by the circumstances of the time. In general I get along with my Democrat friends, but as a whole when the party members, who are adults, start whining and complaining like a bunch of school children who haven't got their way I really get ticked. Bush didn't invite the terrorists to our shores, a Democrat did that. By the time the US entered Iraq, the WMD were moved to Hussein supporters. The only evil-doing was by Hussein, egomaniac indeed, and his fellow party members who tortured, raped, murdered - including bashing an infant to death against a prison wall in front of its parents. As a Republican I haven't agreed with all that Bush has done, and I believe he could have and can improve his performance. To my Democrat neighbors, start delving into both sides of the story and really look deep, not just the media's version. By the way do you really think it's okay for a US president, a public servant, to act immorally and then lie about it?

I've said it before and I'll say it again, "George Bush, meet Lyndon Johnson". He too took the stubborn road of refusing to believe that we were engaged in a civil war in Viet Nam. After 58,000+ dead Americans in Viet Nam, where are we now? Trading with Viet Nam as if nothing happened. I think if "Bushy Boy" would have devoted as many troops to finding Osama Bin Laden, the real culprit behind the 9-11 attacks, as he committed to Iraq, Bin Laden would have long ago been dead. Are we going to keep sending our troops in harm's way, all over the world, to countries who have been fighting amongst themselves for hundreds of years? Wake up who was a draft-dodger!!

Mr. Carlito:
Obviously you don't know what you are talking about, as you don't even know the Senator's first name: it's Barack, not Barry!!

One of the latest polls taken about a month past shows 83% of the shia population of Iraq wants the American Invaders dead; These same brave Americans's who are dying and who have died to free the Shia from the brutality of the Sunnis and the late Saddam Hussein. As we continue to think logically about solutions, we continue to rationalize believing we are dealing in logic. Big mistake. When will we learn?

We knew him as Barry, O.K. Barack ,Barry, Bambi what ever , he was elected because he got a freebee (Keys was insane), Jack Ryan or Ditka would have won that race, So "Tom L", you dont know what you are talking about. His extremely liberal State Senate voting record will come out, he will be exposed as a shallow liar. This is your typical sound nice stand for nothing liberal. You Sheeple BAAAA

Tom L, where does this great leader of his people, Barack "Bambi" Obama stand on the whole John Burge / Dick Daley issue,....hmmmmmm, hypocrite! He goes to Maryland campaigns against a Black candidate Mike Steele , then wont stand up for black people here!!! Atleast Dorothy Brown will take this on!

Loys: Great post and factual!

Tom L. - you know not waht you talk about. He has been called Barry for years. He has no platform or policy. He parrots Durbin. He is being used by the Dems for attention.

Durbin says Bush has lost some of his bravado, I say Durbin has lost his mind.

There has NOT been a Democrat that has come up with anything but critizing for the Bush Administration Iraq proposals. The President now wants to increase trop presence in Iraq and the Dems are against it. It was only a short time ago that THEY, the Dems, advocated an increase in troop presence in Iraq.

If this cut and run Democrat attitude was the attitude in WWII, we would all be speaking German, our Capitol would be Berlin and the dress of choice would be leederhoosin (sp)!

I would like to know from Loys more clearer explaination regarding statment "Bush didn't invite the terrorists to our shores, a Democrat did that. " I work for United Airlines and my understanding is that the US ignored warnings about the terror plot.

Jesus Carlito: Do you understand that Barack Obama is the Senator for the ENTIRE state of IL, that means all 12 million of this states residents. If you polled voters in this state on issues that they want their UNITED STATES Senator to focus on I strongly doubt Burge vs. Daley would even be on the top 1,000 list. Please also note that Barack Obama was trained as a Civil Rights attorney. Also while in the IL General Assembly Obama crafted legistlation that became law to video tape police interigations of suspects while in custody. Do you really think a United States Senator should get involved in something like this? Obviously Dorothy Brown cares about this issue; she is running against the Mayor. The Clerk has a better chance winning the Miss America Contest than even pulling in 25% on February 27th against Daley. People like you spew this non-sense without knowing much at all.

If Obama was a trained civil rights attorney , then he is worse than I thought, the Burge / Daley scandal was the worst violation of civil rights since the 60's in the south. And Barry Obama is nowhere to be found, uhh hypocrite, and he wont back Dorothy Brown vs. Daley he isn't a minority he is a hypocrite! Your a no mind sheep, get a life! This makes him an even bigger hypocrite in my eyes.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 11, 2007 3:23 PM.

Chris Dodd: Jumps in 2008 Dem White House primary. Announces on Imus. was the previous entry in this blog.

Hillary Rodham Clinton to Iraq and Afghanistan. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.